Album Review // YOU ME AT SIX ‘VI’
More experimental and fun, You Me At Six return with some of their strongest work to date.
When a band sticks around for a succession of albums over a long career, it can be difficult to know where they’re going forward, especially if they reach album number six. So they’ve impressed people with the debut and retained those fans with the sophomore and relevant follow ups but six can be an uninteresting time for some. Most are no stranger to You Me At Six around this point; you have either heard their iconic tunes – Underdog and Loverboy just to name a couple – or seen the name gracing lineups for Download Festival and Reading & Leeds. They’ve climbed the roosters across the world and now find themselves selling out their headline tours. Album number six for You Me At Six is aptly named VI and may contain some of their strongest work to date.
We kick everything off with single Fast Forward, a track with high levels of energy and enthusiasm that gives some hope that You Me At Six are here for bigger and better things. The angsty track is swiftly followed up with a top, typical YM@6 power ballad Straight To My Head. There is still some darker undertones evident, resulting in a sound merge that appears to have taken elements from previous albums ‘Sinners Never Sleep’ and ‘Cavalier Youth’. The result off this blend is a strong contender amongst the masses of alt-rock and pop-punk around right now.
First thoughts when first hearing Back Again swiftly turn to the direction that Paramore recently took with their 2017 release ‘After Laughter’. The guitars are upbeat and colourful, which would have been perfect for the summer. The vibrant song embraces the poppier side of the band, which has shone through on occasion previously. It works well wedged between the darker tones from Fast Forward and Miracle In The Mourning.
Marking the midway point, 3AM presents a softer approach, utilising the pop elements that the band have always had a good relationship with. The licks of synth and electro tinges make the track agreeable for fans past and present. Funky bass lines follow with IOU and the sounds take a turn that suits the group incredibly well. The result of noir styled rhythms and alternating guitars is something suave and sophisticated; a nice change from their standard sound.
There is a sense of urgency and excitement in Predictable and Danger that allows even the second half of the album to have stand-out qualities – which proves a problematic point for some longer albums. Josh Franceschi and his crew of merry men are definitely growing up alongside their fans and it shows in their music.
The experimental side of the band is a key element for this album, they clearly wanted to do something a bit different and break the mould that had formed over their past records and ultimately made ‘Night People’ one of their weaker efforts. They worked alongside producer Dan Austin, who has been previously praised in the rock community and worked with the likes of Arcane Roots and Biffy Clyro. This record comes across much more flexible and fun, which makes You Me At Six seem incredibly confident with what they’ve accomplished here.
Despite what prepossessions you may (or may not) have for You Me At Six, they have proved with VI that they are not always what you think. They continue to surprise you with a range of sounds throughout and forever experiment with new approaches that makes their music fresh and incredibly pleasant to listen to. It is clear the quintet have pulled it out the bag with their latest record and will surely be living on cloud nine for a long time to come.